Welcome to the middle of summer, with BBQs, campouts, and unfortunately, record-breaking forest fires.
As we have repeatedly stressed, the failed policies of our federally managed lands has created a tinderbox across the west. For example, in Oregon, where we once harvested nearly 5 Billion board feet of timber, we now harvest only 540 million board feet, a mere fraction of the new growth in trees and lumber. Our overcrowded trees are fighting for water, the losers becoming susceptible to disease, such as the beetle kill that has swept through our forests.
Above is a picture taken last week in the beautiful mountains of Sanpete County, UT where our family has camped every year for over 50 years. This year, it was heartbreaking to see that nearly half of the beautiful pine trees on the entire mountain have been ravaged by Beetle Kill. Every turn found us surrounded with dead and dying trees that have become the fuel for the next round of catastrophic fires. It won’t be long until one lightening strike sends our beloved mountain – along with animals, property, human life, and critical watershed – up in smoke.
I just returned from a week giving presentations in Colorado and passed right by where this picture was taken (Hwy 24 near Cave of the Winds on July 10th, only 3 weeks ago.) This mudslide was a direct result of the recent Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado. When the forest floor has been scarred by severe burns, the soil is no longer able to absorb rainwater and, with no ground cover to hold anything back, the land is washed away in a destructive flood.
If we continue to tolerate such mis-management of our public forests we may soon find ourselves with no one else to blame as the vast renewable forest resources – along with the watershed, wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities – are gone for our lifetimes, and the lifetimes of our children. It is time to compel the federal government to honor the same promise it made with all states east of Colorado and restore our states to the vibrant natural and economic places they once were.
We continue to ask you to send the White Paper, commissioned by the Federalist Society, to all of your county, city and state attorneys, legal advisors and government affairs personnel, as well as your elected officials and ask for their review of it. Please let us know of any arguments that may refute any portion of the White Paper. We welcome that feedback and will be pleased to respond to any comments or critiques. As of yet, we have not received any. When people truly understand the legality and constitutionality of the Transfer of Public Lands Act, the traditional misconceptions simply fade away.
Ken Ivory, ALC President
P.S. Click here to discover how you can stand with the American Lands Council, and help this work move forward.
P.P.S. For up-to-date information on the fires in your area, see this interactive map created by the National Constitutional Sheriff’s Association.